Who was Nathuram Godse?

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Born on 19 May 1910

Vinayak Vamanrao Godse worked as a mail worker in the Baramati neighbourhood of Pune. He had three sons and a daughter from his marriage to Lakshmi. It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to do this, but I’m going to try.

Ramachandra was the fourth son that Vinayak had. Ramachandra was reared as a female since his parents were afraid of the curse on their male offspring. He was forced to wear a nose ring and had his nose pierced, as is customary in most Hindu homes.

Ramachandra posed as a girl for his first few years of life. A nose-ring is translated as ‘nath’ and it was because of this fact that he earned his name, Nathuram which literally means Ram with a nose-ring. Soon, Nathuram had a younger brother and that is when he stopped posing as a girl. 

Growing up, he was sent to live with his aunt in Pune so that he could study in an English-medium school. Growing up, he was highly influenced by the teachings of Gandhi and respected him genuinely.

Soon, Nathuram dropped out of High School and joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to become an activist. He went on to start a Marathi newspaper for Hindu Mahasabha

which was titled Agrani and later renamed as Hindu Rashtra.

By this time, his inclination towards Gandhi had started to flutter. he had started believing that Gandhi was not concerned about the Hindus and most of his interests were anti-national in nature.

He started working with M.S. Golwalkar, who later became the RSS chief. Both of them translated the book “Rashtra Mimansa” into English. However, Golwalkar took the entire credit for the translation and both of them fell apart. He went on to form his organization called Hindu Rashtra Dal.

In between, he was arrested a few times for political crimes and served a prison sentence. Once he came out of prison, he started reporting crimes on Hindus as a journalist during the riots of the 1940s.

He had another disagreement with the majority of the RSS leaders in 1946, the year before India’s independence, since he believed that they had softened their position on the division. He was particularly dissatisfied with how India was divided.

Indian leaders delayed a payment that was intended to be sent to Pakistan when India and Pakistan went to war. The authorities did not want to provide financial support to a nation that was at war with them.

Gandhi opposed the decision and went on fast-unto-death until the Indian leaders decided not to withhold the payment to Pakistan. The government soon reversed the decision and this irked Godse and his colleagues.

Godse thought Gandhi was directly influencing the administration and harming India’s policies. In an effort to stop Gandhi from interfering any further, Godse and his sidekick Narayan Apte began keeping tabs on Gandhi’s whereabouts and bought a Beretta M1934.

January 20, 1948

Godse made an attempt to kill Gandhi in Delhi’s Birla House. Gandhi was the target of a grenade thrown from the crowd, which caused havoc. Gandhi was to have been the target of a second grenade, but Godse’s sidekick Digambar Badge lost heart and fled with the throng. Except for Madanlal Pahwa, Godse and his companions managed to flee.

We may stumble and fall but shall rise again; it should be enough if we did not run away from the battle.

M.K. Gandhi

30 January 1948

Godse shot Gandhi three times in the chest with his Beretta. Herbert Reiner Jr., a young consul at the American embassy was the first to grasp hold of Godse by the neck and later got him arrested.

Godse was put on a trial in Punjab Court. Although there were pleas from Gandhi’s two sons to forgive him, it was rejected by the government. He was hung in Ambala jail soon after.

15 November 1949

Who was Nathuram Godse?

Some Indians call him a terrorist, some call him an extremist, some call him a saviour, some call him anti-national but who am I to analyse or judge.

I’m just a story-teller.

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